Friday, October 10, 2008

Creative Words, Part 1

Let's talk about the obvious in preaching- spoken words. How can the words you use be more creative?

Darius Salter notes preachers need to use graphic speech. The Bible uses real life situations rather than give you how-to manuals. The Bible does not give propositions (per se) to listeners. It shocks, scares, awakens, and scares them with real life. God uses images of fire, smoke, stones, swords, brides, prostitutes, gardens, gates, snakes, and bones. It has illicit affairs, battles, scars, and heated bloody battles that would get an easy R rating.

A sermon should not just be heard, but be felt in the stomachs of the psyche of your audience. Moralisms like "Do not lust" and "Don't be jealous" fall flat without David and Bathsheba and Jacob and Esau. In short we need to stay away from sanitized words that whitewash the rawness of emotion. Don't be shy to shock and awe your audience with the battles of Joshua or he wrath of God. David's lust was just as much with his eyes as it was with his groin. Granted, this is not about offending for the sake of offending. But we must offer up God's word graphically, as it presents itself, to the world. Don't let God's word run through the censor of your church culture. let it stand for what it is; God's Word!

How can you use more graphic speech in your messages?

1. Don't settle for generalities, be specific in your descriptions of the scene and of people. You can use too much detail. Give just enough detail to make the scene or person come alive.
2. Every passage of the Bible has a story with people. Be sure to involve their story into the preaching of your passage. I'm thinking particularly in the texts of Paul.
3. Know your text. Many times the Greek language is much stronger or weaker in tone than the english text suggests. Bring out the graphic description of these texts in your message.

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